The following is a summary of the current party policies on an Australian republic from the three parties with a policy on this important issue: Labor, the Democrats and the Greens. This summary does not include minor parties. The Liberal Party and the National Party have no policy on an Australian republic, though they do owe it to voters to have one.
- Labor believes that modernising Australia’s Constitution also entails a transition to an Australian Republic, with an Australian head of state, who can fully represent our traditions, values and aspirations as a nation.
- Labor is committed to consulting with the Australian people, other political parties, the states and the territories as to the form that the Republic should take. Labor will promote community debate about the advantages and disadvantages of the various republican models.
- Labor will conduct plebiscites to establish support for an Australian head of state and the preference for different forms of a Republic. When a preference has emerged, Labor will initiate an appropriate referendum under section 128 of the Constitution.
(National Platform and Constitution 2009: Chapter 11: New Ways of Governing for a Stronger Democracy, paragraphs 19-21 at www.alp.org.au)
- Australia should become a republic with an Australian head of state.
(Constitutional Reform and Democracy Policy at http://greens.org.au/policies/human-rights-democracy/constitutional-reform-and-democracy)
An Australian Republic would include (abridged):
(a) The Constitution amended to reflect our status as an independent democratic nation in which the people are sovereign
(b) A fully elected constitutional convention to develop republic models after a plebiscite has been held to determine if Australia wishes to become a republic
(c) The separation of powers and the rule of law strengthened by creating an Australian Head of State with limited codified powers that adequately describe his or her relationship with the executive, legislature, judiciary and the people
(d) The Government not having the power to arbitrarily dismiss the Head of State. Natural justice requires that this only be done on certain specified grounds in accordance with a procedure which involves both Houses of Parliament.
(Official Policy 1 July 2001 at http://www.democrats.org.au/policies partially restated in the Constitutional Reform Action Plan for the 2007 election.)
- Senator Natasha Stott Despoja (SA) released the Democrats’ specific policy about the republic for the 2007 election on 5 November 2007. It proposed that the first stage non-binding vote be held at the same time as a referendum on constitutional recognition of our Indigenous peoples, supported by both the current Government and Opposition, and timed for around mid 2009. There would be a non-binding vote based on this question: “Do you want Australia to become a Republic?”